PRIORITIES

Focus on Covid-19 war, and not sideshows

We must not start cleaning up scandals after we are done fighting the pandemic.

In Summary
  • This crisis has thrown us off our normal and there are things that may cost more than we think they should.
  • It’s therefore important that we analyse everything in context to avoid causing confusion

Once upon a time, a Mountain was once greatly agitated. Loud groans and noises were heard, and crowds of people came from all parts to see what was the matter. While they were assembled in anxious expectation of some terrible calamity, out came a mouse.

At times we end up focusing on non-issues and lose focus of what we are supposed to. And we are likely to fall into this pitfall in Kenya and lose the war on Covid-19.

In the last week, there has been a lot of focus on the report tabled in Parliament on the spending of money towards the fight against Covid-19. There was also noise about the flowers that Kenya exported to the UK recently.

It is a good thing that the President and the Cabinet Secretary for Health have already addressed the two issues. In particular, the two have stated that all the money meant for Covid-19 would be accounted for to the last cent.

On the issue of flowers, as the President stated, the criticism that has been thrown at the government was unfounded and uncalled for. We must be critical in our thinking before we criticise everything.

We have read media reports that our flower farms are suffering due to reduced exports. Many people are losing their jobs and the move by the President not only helps save jobs but will ensure that the industry reboots when this pandemic is over.

On the spending by the government, while it is important that we keep those in authority in check, we must also be honest as well and fair. We cannot make all manner of accusations without looking at the bigger picture.

This crisis has thrown us off our normal and there are things that may cost more than we think they should. It is therefore important that we analyse everything in context to avoid throwing the country into confusion.

For instance, people have been criticising the amounts said to have been spent on communication by the ministry. The government has not only been communicating among itself but has had to ensure that Kenyans get the information needed to protect themselves.

As the CS explained, people must look at the costs in relation to even the amount of time they have been set to cover. For instance, accommodation and food for the frontline workers is an ongoing cost and which has to be budgeted for.

When it comes to the leasing of ambulances, as the CS explained, the cost involves more than just the equipment in it. There are the medics in them and all the materials that need to be used while the ambulances are on the job.

So even as we try to keep government accountable, we must also work hard to ensure that we stay factual. We must avoid spreading rumours about those in charge, which distracts us from the core issues that need to be solved.

At the same time, we must remind all public officers that they have a duty to ensure that all funds set aside are spent prudently. We must not start cleaning up scandals after we are done fighting the pandemic.

What the country needs is to focus on handling the current crisis and not sideshows about what money has been spent on what. After all, the Constitution has an auditing process, which will be put to use once all this is over.

We are in all this together and we must ensure that we push through as a nation without throwing innuendos at each other. We must let the leadership of the Health ministry and all the frontline workers do their job without distraction.

Let us focus on the big picture to ensure that we defeat this pandemic and start rebuilding the economy as soon as possible.